The St. Louis Cardinals need a lot of things, but they don't need a third baseman who offers bat defense, home run power, and isn't better than what they already have.
I am talking about former Kansas City Royals corner infielder Mike Moustakas, who is a free agent and was linked to the Cardinals yesterday by "pick a Hot Stove, any Hot Stove" USA Today reporter, Bob Nightengale.
And I get it, sort of. "Moose" cranked 38 home runs last year, hits lefthanded, and is a two time All Star. He is 29 years old and not in the Royals plans for the foreseeable future. He isn't a bad player; he simply isn't a particular great one.
And the Cardinals already have a third baseman called Jedd Gyorko, who offers everything Moustakas does, plus good defense and versatility. Let's do a little comparison game real quick:
Moustakas career SLUG, OPS, OPS+: .430/.730/96
Gyorko career SLUG, OPS, OPS+: .429/.734/102
Perspective: Moustakas smashed 38 homers and slugged .521 in 2017, but only finished with a 2.2 fWAR. Gyorko finished with a 2.6 fWAR, and played in less games.
I understand that Gyorko is a super utility player and Moustakas is a starter, but that doesn't mean he is more valuable than Jedd. I would like to see Gyorko bat in a lineup with higher quality hitters and get 10-15 more games, and see if he could get 35 home runs. There's no evidence to suggest he would be bad with a higher workload. If Jhonny Peralta didn't soak up a few games too many in 2017, perhaps Gyorko gets those games.
Now, if Moustakas only wants a year or two deal, then the idea gets a slightly better. Just know that in 2017, Moustakas cost the Royals seven runs in the field on defense. What was once good back in 2014 is no longer valuable at the corner spot. Getting older certainly doesn't bring better defense.
Each player is 29 years old, and in 2018, the San Diego Padres pay a portion of Gyorko's salary.
I get the notion that signing Moustakas could turn Gyorko into a super sub, but I thought that's what Carpenter was going to be, especially since breakout bat Jose Martinez is returning to possibly play some first base in 2018. If Carpenter is already floating around, why does Gyorko have to as well? It doesn't make sense. Moustakas doesn't make the Cardinals that much better of a team in 2018.
Moustakas made 8.75 million dollars in 2017, and will get (and deserves) a healthy raise this winter. He will get STARTER money, but isn't better than what the Cardinals currently have.
You see, the Cardinals bringing in Evan Longoria (now a Giant) was only going to be digestible due to the fact that it might bring in Alex Colome and/or Chris Archer as well. Moustakas would simply show up all by himself, and the arrival would be as optimistic as a T-bone steak at Denny's at three o'clock in the morning.
No thanks on Mike Moustakas. He is bound for designated hitter duty anyway. The Cardinals already have a guy who can slug and hit home runs for a cheaper price-and offer better defense.
The Cardinals already have a guy who looks like he walked off Field #6 at Forest Park after a softball doubleheader, and his name is Jedd. Use the 10-12 million dollars on a starter or closer instead.